Talking disc golf with Anniken Kristiansen Steen:  the good, the bad, and what's next

Talking disc golf with Anniken Kristiansen Steen: the good, the bad, and what's next

Meet Anniken Kristiansen Steen - a 3-time Norwegian Champion and 2022 EuroTour Champion. Join us for a little chat about her memories of the 2023 season and what's to come in 2024.

Looking back at 2023, how was your season? Any memorable moments or personal victories you’re happy about? What were the highs and lows of last year, and what lessons are you carrying into the 2024 season?

2023 was a year full of learning. It was my first year of the 5 year contract with We Are Disc Golf, where PCS Group also is part, allowing me to be a professional player touring in the US and Europe. I would say this year was about getting familiar with both the tour and the tour life itself, with a lot of traveling and playing more tournaments than previous seasons. I expanded my friendship with other ambitious FPO players from both Europe and US, and to get to play the courses I’ve only watched on YouTube has been an incredible experience too. I think one of my biggest achievements in 2023 was the 5th place at Waco in Texas, the 6th place at European Open and also defending my Norwegian Champion title.

But this year also came with a lot more ups and downs in my play, from having my career high rating in a single round to playing one of my worst rounds in a long time. I learned it requires a lot more of me both physically and mentally to do the full touring, rather than playing single events every now and then. But what I’ll take with me is to also remember the work life balance even as an athlete. Take my mind off of disc golf sometimes. I think I’m good at switching my mind in and out of the zone during a tournament round, but I’ll work on doing that even more in between rounds and in between tournaments.

Anniken Kristiansen Steen disc golf europe

📷 Pro Tour

Now that we’ve got the full 2024 schedule in front of us, which tournaments are you the most hyped about? How do you plan to prepare for them?

I’m definitely looking forward to have another Pro Tour event in Norway! I’m sure Krokhol will make an event just as good as last year. And I’m glad that Europe is finally hosting several events giving full points on the Pro Tour. I believe it’s another step in the right direction for the professional aspect of disc golf on European soil. So I guess I have to say all of the European ones. When it comes to preparation I believe it starts in the offseason, analyzing my weaknesses from last season and working on improving them. When we come closer to the tournament dates I’ll probably look at last years tournament rounds on YouTube and also visualizing before heading out on the practice rounds.

Every season has its curveballs. What were the challenges you faced in 2023, and how did you tackle them?

I’ve mentioned some challenges above, but let’s also talk about the fact that I’m a person who likes to plan ahead of time, and stick to my intended plan. But I experienced when traveling as much as I did, not everything will work out the way you planned and you have to figure some things out as you go. Even though I prefer airbnbs rather than hotels in the US, I encountered some bad experiences with some apartments. It can take a lot of your energy away from what you should focus on towards a tournament day. I tried to change my mindset into thinking “life happens”, and some things that might seem hopeless and frustrating in the moment makes good stories later on.

The disc golf community is (mostly) very supportive. How do you connect with fans and other players, and does that contribute to your game?

I totally agree that the disc golf community is mostly very supportive. I tend to interact with fans after rounds, and it excites me every time they tell me they are having a great time out on the course watching the pro players. And I also have my Instagram account where I from time to time communicate with them. During the 2023 season I traveled with many different players, both MPO and FPO. I rarely had two weeks in a row where I had the same traveling partners. When traveling together you get to know each other on a deeper personal level, and it also makes it easier to exchange experiences and thoughts about the courses, some strategy etc. I believe that having traveling partners you get along with and like to hang out with makes it easier to handle each tournament week both in good and bad times.

Anniken Kristiansen Steen Keiti Tätte Disc golf europe

Anniken with Keiti Tätte

Considering the evolving landscape of disc golf, both in terms of competition and the sport’s popularity, what do you see as the most exciting developments or changes on the horizon for the disc golf community?

I would again like to focus on the shift we see here in Europe. The fact that we are reaching higher quality on the events and the professionalism building up, makes it more attractive for the best players in the world to compete in Europe. And I would believe that can make it easier for young aspiring European players to both see the opportunities and take the step towards a professional career.

If you could give one tip to any new players, what would it be?

I would encourage you to go out of your comfort zone to challenge yourself. Whether that it is to try out another disc, getting a membership in your local disc golf club, participate in your first weekly or first local tournament, or maybe attend to a disc golf clinic. I believe it’s better to have tried and failed, rather than not knowing what could have been or could have happened if you never gave it a chance.